Steampunk Zipper & Lampwork Bead Bracelet


This bracelet was recently featured in Michele’s Crafty Tips blog:
For free new craft tips every day, head on over to her blog and take a look.

This is the second tutorial I’ve submitted based on Project Accessory. I was all set to LOVE this show, but as it turns out it hasn’t been nearly as inspirational as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, I love this bracelet.

You can see my first tutorial based on the TV show here.

Okay, so here’s the bracelet.

And here is Nina’s bracelet, which was my inspiration.

Now, before we get into this, let me just say that I believe this design belongs to her, and I made this bracelet for myself. I think the design is fabulous. However, in this case I may well sell the finished project because I think I’ve made it “mine” enough and also because there are already a number of really amazing zipper designs on Etsy.
You can see them here:

Materials Needed:
*1 or more 24″ plastic zipper (I’ve used two for this sample)
*Ultrasuede in one or more colors (I’ve used two colors here – a red for the front and a blue for the lining)
*Lacy’s Stiff Stuff or thick interfacing. Fusible is great!
*Clasp: I’ve used a purse clasp. I have a number of them for sale if you want to PM me, or you might be able to fnd them on Etsy.
*Optional: Lampwork Glass Disk Beads. Mine are boro and if you PM me I can make some for you
*Optional: Lampwork glass leftover wavy bead from my other free tutorial projects. Tutorial available here:
*Optional: Tim Holtz Steampunk Cogs
*Optional: Leftover Swarovski crystals and seed beads from other projects
*Thread – regular for the base part of the bracelet and beading thread for adding beads – I recommend Fireline.
*Small, sharp scissors
*Glue – I recommend e6000, which is super stinky but works great because it remains flexible when dry

Cut a 2″ x 8.5″ (or whatever size will fit you – remember, because this is big you don’t want it to be too snug) rectangle from both the interfacing (Lacy’s stiff stuff) and the front color of your ultrasuede. If its fusible, get out that old iron and stick ’em together! Otherwise, open up that glue. If you do glue them, give it all time to dry!

Open up the zipper(s). Cut off the end pieces and the pull. You’ll end up with two working pieces per zipper. You might want to keep that pull for a decorative element on your bracelet, but I just tossed mine.

Start in the center and curl up your zipper. Tack it on. In the case of mine, I had two zippers so had a two-tone look that I rather enjoyed. One zipper that was longer than the other, so I ended up separating the two of them and really just playing with the curls. Don’t tack them down all the way – you want a sort of 3d effect here! remember to hide the cut ends of your zipper underneath the curls and tack them down especially well.

Here’s half of the bracelet:

And here’s all of the zipper pieces tacked down:

My ginormous clasp is more of a fashion statement than the rest of the zipper. I needed some extra insurance on it, so I knew I had to really sew it down and didn’t want those stitches showing on the inside of the bracelet, so I put it on next so I could later cover the interior stitches with the lining. Generally, I wouldn’t put the clasp on until the end.

Optional: I decided that the rectagular shape was super boring, so I trimmed it to match the freeform curliques of the zipper better.

At this point, you could well slap a lining on this and call it done!
I decided it needed some beads, and I happen to have a few hanging around my house, so I grabbed some Tim Holtz cogs and sewed them on, and then grabbed some leftover boro disks I had hanging around and then started rummaging through my Swarovski crystals and sewed them on.
It was sorta a free-for-all around here.

First, here’s a photo of those disks

I blame Val for an obsessive couple of days in which I did nothing but make these.

And here’s a photo of the bracelet with the stuff all haphazardly sewn on.

You’re nearly done! The interior of your bracelet probably is a mess of knots and threads and stuff. That’s okay – you should have seen mine. Glue it onto the lining ultrasuede. I suggest sticking your bracelet to a larger piece of lining and waiting until the glue dries before trimming it. While you wait for it to dry, you have to figure out what to do with the edging. You have a couple of different options.

Option 1: Whip stitch the edges closed.
You can learn to do a whip stitch here.

Option 2: Whip stitch the edges closed using a bead
You do it the same way as above, only add a seed bead as you are working. This looks great because it looks the same as the zipper edge.

Option 3: Use seed bead picot stitch
Picot stitch is a great way to finish off the edge of bead embroidery so you don’t see the cut edge(s) of fabric. Picot also looks great in 15/0 beads.

Before Set Up for the 3-Bead Picot Stitch – thread on 3 beads (see diagram below). You will use three beads to set up the pattern just this time. The middle bead will sit up above the 2 side beads on either side. Let the beads fall to the bottom of thread and rest on the bracelet edge.

Move needle over one bead width and pass needle from the back, a whisper in from the edge and through to the front edge. Now, pass the needle up through the last bead from its bottom hole through bead to top.

From now on you will only thread on 2 beads each time you create a bead picot. You will simply thread on 2 beads and make another small stitch that is one bead width away, bringing needle through from back to front edge. Now bring needle up through the last bead and tug thread to set beads into position.

There you go! Wear and enjoy!